Part of the Indian diaspora in Australia, Sequeira explores complexities around representation and identity. The title of the exhibition references Sequeira’s relationship with museums, history and contemporary art.
Sequeira’s multidisciplinary practice which includes painting, installation, fashion, performance and curatorship spans close to three decades. His work is deeply grounded in the visual languages of colour and geometry.
“I use repetition of form, colour and process to signal the rhythmic patterns of both change and continuity. I think about my work as a convergence of East and West, the spiritual and the aesthetic, the ancient and the contemporary,” says Sequeira.
The exhibiton All the things I should have said that I never said brings together key elements of his practice along with a significant new work untitled India, commissioned for Bunjil Place Gallery.
The centrepiece of the exhibition, untitled India connects a selection of archived photography with the tropes of fashion. Sequeira has designed a suite of 56 kurtas (long shirts worn by men in India) that combines block colours and photographic images associated with India’s past.
Collectively these kurtas form a personal history of India in which singular events are contextualised within Sequeira’s intensely saturated colour combinations. Addressing the notion of ‘embodied history’ – the kurtas will be shown in a spectacular runway performance at the opening of the exhibition before becoming part of the gallery installation featuring new music by Veena virtuoso and composer Hari Sivanesan.
A shelf holding around 1000 coloured glass and ceramic vases will wrap around the walls of the gallery in History & Infinity. “Most of the vases in my work have been gleaned from thrift stores. Symmetry and solid colour are the two important design principles common to all of my vases,” says Sequeira.
“Individually, the vases are neither valuable or even interesting. Collectively they can be arranged into infinite orchestrations of colour and form.”
Sequeira’s Song Cycle is an ongoing suite of works on paper – each work an intense concentration of colour and geometry. Sequeira considers these contemplative diagrammatic forms that are painted on sheets of music manuscript paper, as gentle interruptions or “quiet resonances of geometry and colour that call for pause and consideration.”
“Each visual song honours its own aspect of art and life, inseparable from its title, written in pencil at the bottom of each manuscript. Similar to Indian miniature painting and Tantric paintings, interaction with these works takes place in a liminal contemplative space between the image and the word, seeing and perceiving,” says Sequeria.
David Sequeira is a visual artist, curator and gallery director. He has been at the forefront of art and curatorship that addresses diaspora for almost 30 years. Sequeira has exhibited widely throughout Australia.
He has held senior positions in public cultural institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery of Australia, National Film and Sound Archive, Australian Parliament House and Old Parliament House, Canberra.
He is currently the Director, Fiona and Sidney Myer Gallery, University of Melbourne. David was born in New Delhi in 1966 and moved to Melbourne in 1970 with his family.
David Sequeira: All the things I should have said that I never said
Bunjil Place Gallery, 2 Patrick NE Drive, Narre Warren
Exhibition: 7 May – 21 August 2022
For more information, visit: www.bunjilplace.com.au for details.
Image: David Sequeira, studio/ office, ceramic and glass vases – photo by Stephen McCallum